Monday, July 7, 2014

A guide to traveling with children from one mother to another.

This is #sponsored post brought to you by Kohl's. All opinions stated are that of my own.

Growing up as a kid, I remember associating summer with two things: no school and the beach. Every year around mid-July we would make the big family trip in our gold caravan to Hilton Head Island. My mom was always a big planner so she would start her packing about two weeks prior to departure, but I always held out until just hours before we left—at 3 a.m.. My dad had one rule during the trip: keep the stops to a minimum. Which meant two things— use the restroom during gas refills, and pack smart for the car. 

Since then, I have kept that same tradition with my family: pack smart for travel.
It's only the beginning of July and my husband and I have already taken the kids on two trips totaling 10+ hours of travel time. That doesn't even include the big one this month where we will travel a total of 25+ hours in 7 days. It's not a first for us, and we are not in the bit nervous. We have traveled these same trips with one 18 month old, then one 2.5 year old and a 6 month old, and this year a 3.5 year old and an 18 month old. Every time the trip goes smoothly {in the crying department} and that is because mama comes prepared.

These year I'll be traveling with my trusty products in hand:

1. Infantino Diaper Kit and Changing Pad  : This does not leave my bag at any time. It's the biggest lifesaver when traveling, whether near or far. It's compact, fits nicely in my bag, and saves me the hassle of worrying to find a place to change the baby especially when we make pit stops.

2. Infantino Roomy Neoprene Back Seat Storage  : You know how everyone has a junk drawer {or 5} in their home? Well this is my junk drawer for my car–a good looking one might I add. The kids' sunglasses go in here, little cars, tissues, crayons, and anything else I need thrown in for that certain trip.

3. Boon Trunk Snack Box One of the key components to surviving a long trip is food. It's one of my tricks that I pull out my sleeve when all else has failed. Want this? Want that? How about this? And what about that? The best part about this box is that I don't have to ask, I just hand it to them and they decide. It closes up nicely and we are done. Of course I would not let my 18 month old near this wonderful contraption because I imagine he would have a ball just throwing everything around, but my three year old really enjoys it and even helps me out by handing food to the little one. It's also great to throw in the diaper bag wherever we may be for snack time as well. The large component can hold a full-size peanut butter sandwich, and while traveling in the car we just have soft food options that are easy to eat with no worry of choking, but once we are out of the car we literally throw anything and everything in the slots. Make it fun and colorful.

4.Munchkin Travel Tray: Is by far one of the greatest products ever invented. Actually I am pretty sure two summers ago when we went to Hilton Head Island with our daughter for the first time, I kept telling my husband that there needs to be a product out there that is allows children to rest their things on without it being hard and dangerous for the road. This travel tray is just that—soft, easy to use, and fun. There are little slots on the side for the kids to keep their crayons, a little snack holder for them to keep their snacks in, and a nice surface to either color, push cars around on, read books, or even something to hold their lunch while they eat. There are two clips, one one each side, that can help steady the tray as well.

5. Soft Booster Seat: This is by no means a must for surviving the car trip, however, it is definitely a must-not-leave-home-without product. I say this because you just never know when you may have to stop, and you may just never know where and if they have boosters. My child will not sit in a highchair, and this thing is simply easy to throw in the trunk and go. Also it will be great to have for the condo once we reach our destination.

6. Oxo Snack Cup: Remember how I said I wouldn't trust my little mischievous 18 month old with the snack tray above? Well this is the solution to that: a spill-proof snack cup. He simply puts his little hands in it, and reaches for the food without any spilling it. Then of course yells "MO, PEEESE" when he's all out.

7. Itzy Ritzy 2 pk mini reusable snack bags: This is another great options for snacks and is even more compact than the cup and fits in a small pocket of a bag.

8. Moby Wrap: I added this one in for the mamas with smaller children and especially those traveling by plane. This is a complete lifesaver for those little ones that just want to be in your arms and you still need a free hand to say wrangle the older sibling {or siblings}. Although you may not use it in the car, it's one of my must-packs just in case type of things.

9. Summer Infant 3d-Lite-convenience stroller: Another item that while you may not need while actually driving or flying, you will definitely use while out and about away from home. They highlights of this one is how well it folds up and little space it takes up in the car.

10. Eric Carle My First Smart Pad Books Set: A fun and interactive learning activity pad for the older toddlers that need to keep busy.

11. Soft learning toys for the little ones From flash cards to soft balls, soft rattles, and plush toys—the little ones need something new and exciting when those tears start rolling in. I had to pack a "surprise" bag last year when Graham was 6 months old that was stuffed with soft toys that he had never played with {older sister's old toys}, and anytime that sad face would come on: SURPRISE! Really genius if you ask me.

12. The catch all diaper bag: Because mama always told me, "Never leave home without one!"

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